Every individual suffering from autism is unique, hence, every treatment plan must be individualized to focus on one’s specific problems. Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a neurological disorder of the brain’s development that occurs in the early stages of life and lasts throughout. Despite the symptoms of autism being generally noticeable before a child turns 3, most of the diagnosis occurs much later.
So, How is Autism Treated?
While autism isn’t curable and its causes are mostly unknown, appropriate therapies and psychological programs can help an autistic person lead a better and more integrated life. Each individual is different. The methods conducted and the intensity of the treatment play a crucial role in the treatment process.
Early Intervention and Symptoms:
Early diagnosis and proper intervention can help the child overcome many social challenges a lot earlier and quicker in life. Since a child with ASD mostly appears to be normal when born, most diagnoses happen after its first birthday. The symptoms that occur first are the ones associated with the child’s behavior and are signs that a child is in need of proper medical attention. The primary symptoms that most children have in common include social difficulties in communication and interaction and repetitive and confining activities.
In addition, other prevalent signs may be:
- Difficulties in speaking
- Delays in learning and understanding a language
- Abnormal facial expressions that do not correlate to emotions
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Unusual reactions to different smells, tastes, and sounds
- Difficulties in understanding gestures and emotions
- Physical problems caused due to neurological complications
- Trouble in corresponding to movements
- Hyperactivity and frustrations
- Other intellectual impairments
While at present, the drugs used on autistic patients do not directly target the disorder, they help manage the bothersome symptoms linked to it. For instance, medications for hyperactivity, frustrations, breakdowns, and seizures are often prescribed to people with autism.
Since the drugs prescribed to an autistic person help control only a few behavioral disorders, most of the treatment is carried out through psychological and behavioral intervention therapies. These intensive therapies are really vital and involve the family and everyone close to the child, working jointly with experts. Such programs praise the child and use rewards to motivate good behavior, while conduct punishments to discourage the bad ones.
Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE):
Each and every child is entitled to free and appropriate education. Although, for an autistic child, ‘appropriate’ education might be a different need than for everyone else. The district school is obliged to provide free quality education. However, one of the obstacles here is negotiating and working closely with the school to tailor the kind of learning that meets the child’s needs. Some popular centers that specialize in the education of autistic children are Getaway Academy, Exceptional Minds, Franklin Academy, Orion Academy, Springstone School and Eden School for Autistic Children.
Integration into regular classrooms and Least Restrictive Environments (LRE):
One of the biggest struggles of an autistic child is being accepted by others who are around the same age as him. The idea is that when children with disabilities are integrated with others and are not restricted to their activities, they tend to overcome various difficulties themselves associated with the disorder. However as stated early, each child is different and understanding the intensity and nature of the disorder plays a crucial role in the child’s integration to its natural environment. Social inclusion might have more benefits for one than the other and at the same time, it might make it worse for someone else. This does not mean, that a child should be treated as if it doesn’t suffer from a disorder anymore. The idea is just to place the student in the least restrictive environment as possible.
Use of assistive technology and GPS locators:
One of the most common problems people with autism face is the tendency to wander off and subsequently forget their way back. To help them tackle this problem there are various assistive technologies and locating devices, the most popular being GPS locators by AdiantMobile. Professionals, working with people with autism insist on providing them with GPS locator watches. These modern GPS personal locators can be easily connected to most smartphones and the wearer can be monitored simultaneously by multiple caretakers. This provides a solution to the safety of the person and allows keeping a track of the location of his or her activities.